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Institutional Transformations, Polity and Economic Outcomes; Testing the North-Wallis-Weingast Doorsteps Framework

  • Marc Quintyn
  • Sophia Gollwitzer

This paper tests the theoretical framework developed by North, Wallis and Weingast (2009) on the transition from closed to open access societies. They posit that societies need to go through three doorsteps: (i) the establishment of rule of law among elites; (ii) the adoption of perpetually existing organizations; and (iii) the political control of the military. We identify indicators reflecting these doorsteps and graphically test the correlation between them and a set of political and economic variables. Finally, through Identification through Heteroskedasticity we test these relationships econometrically. The paper broadly confirms the logic behind the doorsteps as necessary steps in the transition to open access societies. The doorsteps influence economic and political processes, as well as each other, with varying intensity. We also identify income inequality as a potentially important force leading to social change.

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Paper provided by International Monetary Fund in its series IMF Working Papers with number 12/87.

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Length: 58
Date of creation: 01 Mar 2012
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:imf:imfwpa:12/87
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  1. Mwangi S. Kimenyi, 2006. "Ethnicity, Governance and the Provision of Public Goods," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 15(1), pages 62-99, April.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Arnaud Devleeschauwer & William Easterly & Sergio Kurlat & Romain Wacziarg, 2002. "Fractionalization," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1959, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
    • Wacziarg, Romain & Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Easterly, William & Kurlat, Sergio, 2002. "Fractionalization," Research Papers 1744, Stanford University, Graduate School of Business.
    • Alberto Alesina & Arnaud Devleeschauwer & William Easterly & Sergio Kurlat & Romain Wacziarg, 2003. "Fractionalization," NBER Working Papers 9411, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    • Alesina, Alberto & Devleeschauwer, Arnaud & Wacziarg, Romain & Kurlat, Sergio & Easterly, William, 2003. "Fractionalization," Scholarly Articles 4553003, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  3. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A. & Yared, Pierre, 2009. "Reevaluating the modernization hypothesis," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 56(8), pages 1043-1058, November.
  4. Robert H. Bates, 2006. "Institutions and Development," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 15(1), pages 10-61, April.
  5. Zak, Paul J. & Feng, Yi, 2003. "A dynamic theory of the transition to democracy," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 52(1), pages 1-25, September.
  6. Acemoglu, Daron & Johnson, Simon & Robinson, James A, 2004. "Institutions as the Fundamental Cause of Long-Run Growth," CEPR Discussion Papers 4458, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Douglass C North & John Joseph Wallis & Barry R. Weingast, 2006. "A Conceptual Framework for Interpreting Recorded Human History," NBER Working Papers 12795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Alberto Alesina & Dani Rodrik, 1991. "Distributive Politics and Economic Growth," NBER Working Papers 3668, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Marc Quintyn & Geneviève Verdier, 2010. "Mother, Can I Trust the Government? Sustained Financial Deepening; A Political Institutionsview," IMF Working Papers 10/210, International Monetary Fund.
  10. Marc Quintyn & Sophia Gollwitzer, 2010. "The Effectiveness of Macroeconomic Commitment in Weak(er) Institutional Environments," IMF Working Papers 10/193, International Monetary Fund.
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